Parks and recreation officials were checking the water quality of a small lake in South Carolina when a surprise guest proved just how healthy the environment was. From the depths of Oak Grove Lake in Greenville County came a massive goldfish stretching some 15 inches long. That's just a few inches shy of the mark recognized by the Guinness World Records for longest goldfish. Its weight is even more impressive. At 9 pounds, the fish is nearly twice as heavy as most large goldfish found in the wild, according to National Geographic. "Anyone missing their goldfish?" the Greenville County parks office wrote in a Facebook post, showing off the catch. "We think someone must have just dropped their fish in the lake because they didn't want it anymore," representative Ty Houck adds, per CNN, noting goldfish are not native to the state.
Officials had used a weak electrical current to harmlessly shock the lake's fish on Nov. 16, forcing them to float to the surface so they could be checked for signs of trouble. "All of a sudden this giant fish jumped out and into the net," Houck says. "It is obviously healthy enough at Oak Grove Lake for that goldfish to get that big," he adds, per the Charlotte Observer, having ruled out chemical exposure. He says it's likely the noninvasive goldfish, who was returned to the lake, has a strong appetite and decent survival skills as the lake's headwaters were dredged earlier this year. "This guy ... went from a 12-acre lake to ... probably less than a half-acre puddle and survived in that for at least two weeks," Houck notes. It's believed the fish was placed in the lake within the last decade, as it wasn't observed during an earlier study. (Read more goldfish stories.)